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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Greece: Wild Flowers as a Salve (for the Conscience or for Anxiety?); Salvea sclarea; Vikos Doctors



 Trying to take my mind off the "crisis" and political intriques - discovering a salve for anxiety.

Back in 1983, I wrote:

"With its forests and flora
Vikos invites us to return in the Spring,
When wild flowers flourish on the threshing floors,
We resolve to learn their names next year".

Over thirty years later, and I can still identity and name 
only a small number of the abundant wild flowers. 
I 'll  certainly never qualify as one of the famous Vikos doctors or herbalists (Vikoyiatroi)



Thanks to a friend, I have just discovered the name for the one illustrated below:

"Clary", "Clary Sage", or Salvia sclarea


Apparently it's "an aromatic and medicinal plant common in barren locations"


Down the Vitsa Skala to the Vikos Gorge



"The Latin name Salvia is related to Salus (health). The seeds of Meadow Clary were used in the past as a paste to remove particles from eyes and to reduce inflammation or redness. The name 'clary' is derived from 'clear-eye'. It was also used as a gargle for sore throats, and to clean teeth (Arkive). It has been used as a flavouring for beers and wines" - Plantlife.org, on a related species

More from Wikipedia -

"The plant has a lengthy history as a medicinal herb, and is currently grown for its essential oil...Descriptions of medicinal use of the plant goes back to the writings of Theophrastus (4th century BCE), Dioscorides (1st century CE), and Pliny the Elder (1st century CE)...Clary seeds have a muciliaginous coat, which is why some old herbals recommended placing a seed into the eye of someone with a foreign object in it so that it could adhere to the object and make it easy to remove. This practice is noted by Nicholas Culpeper in his Complete Herbal (1653), who referred to the plant as "clear-eye". The distilled essential oil is used widely in perfumes and as a muscatel flavoring for vermouths, wines, and liqueurs. It is also used in aromatherapy for relieving anxiety and fear, menstrual-related problems such as PMS and cramping, and helping with insomnia".

There you have it. A change from the rather less aromatic and soothing atmosphere of Brussels!

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